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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Pay for play: Pros and cons

With all the drama circulating around the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship MVP Shabazz Napier’s comments, the never-ending debate continues for whether athletes at the collegiate level should be paid for their efforts and the money they bring in year-in and year-out.
“We’re definitely blessed to get scholarships from universities, but at the end of the day that doesn’t cover everything… we do have hungry nights where we aren’t able to get food,” stated the UConn star.
Although it seems that the American public only recently became aware of the “scandal” and the commercialization surrounding these comments, this controversy has existed since the first collegiate event took place. It still seems that after all these years, we haven’t made much progress in the direction that these players would like to go in — well at least not as far along as they’d like to be.
Maybe when taking on this issue the best question to ask should be “why aren’t these athletes getting paid?” Imagine working a job with long hours, far from home, while attending school full time. On top of that, imagine bringing in millions of dollars in revenue to your employer. Now imagine doing all of that for free.
What comes to mind? A sweat shop maybe? In basketball alone, the Louisville Cardinals were the most valuable team in 2014 at a worth of $39.5 dollars. In 2003, Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers passed a bill that would allow football players at Nebraska to be paid a stipend.
“Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem fair. I’m at the number one football school in the country right now, and I’m struggling to get groceries every month,” said Chambers.
Now in defense of the NCAA, how do you pay these athletes in a standardized rate that covers every sport and school? You cannot pay a lacrosse program that does not even bring in a percentage of what a basketball or football program might bring in. A lot of the revenue brought in from the big programs is distributed and funded to the other, less popular programs, which would be tough to maintain if pay to play was to be implemented. There are only a small percentage universities that bring in a sufficient amount of funds for this to even work without an uproar from those being treated unfairly. In addition, within the organization, are we now putting a value on a specific player? Would we consider them superstars? It just ruins the integrity of college sports.
As a fan of NCAA Basketball, I would not want to see good, hard fought basketball being tainted by what seems to be the root of all changes when implemented. But our selfishness as fans can often result in the dehumanization and the lack of compassion for actual people with actual feelings. If pay to play is truly the way to go, there will be many unsolved questions that will leave many, who already think highly of collegiate sports, highly disappointed. What do you think?